How do you connect with composers to write new works for you and how does that fit in with your other activities? Katherine M. Shao, Managing Director and Harpsichordist, American Baroque

Katherine M. Shao
Katherine M. Shao
Photo by Susan Scott, courtesy of American Baroque

American Baroque’s adventures in new music began close to home. Our viola da gamba player, Roy Whelden, is a fine composer, and we were lucky to count a couple of other composers among our friends. After that, we had to start looking a bit further afield. Nowadays, individual group members are trusted to approach any composer whose music they like, and at least initiate a dialog. We have been most successful with composers that know our work (both early and new music), and we try to pick composers based on a personal affinity for their work rather than reputation or awards, etc. However, we have also done well with composers that have approached us out of the blue, and we always encourage people to send us scores or recordings for perusal, even if it’s a piece that might need a little bit of ‘tampering’ to make it fit our instrumentation.




American Baroque
Photo by Susan Scott, courtesy of American Baroque

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